20 May 2020, The Northern Sydney Symphonic Wind Ensemble (NSSWE) is pleased to confirm that our Artistic Director and Chief Conductor Patrick Brennan is recovering well after surgery on his hand.

Patrick had an accident at home last Saturday and is currently being treated in a hospital in Sydney. Today, Patrick’s family has reported that he is steadily improving and he is looking forward to his return to rehearsals in the near future.

As NSSWE’s Artistic Director, Patrick has played a significant role in managing the successful transition of NSSWE’s extension music program for young musicians into an online format, NSSWE Connect, in response to the COVID-19 shutdown over the past month. The online program delivers an innovative blend of music-based activities, recording sessions, music theory and small group tuition, all designed to keep the NSSWE musicians connected to their music and to each other in the absence of performances and rehearsals. Over 90% of NSSWE’s musicians log in each week.

One of the highlights of the NSSWE Connect program that Patrick has established is a series of Master Musician workshops involving elite professional instrumentalists from the Sydney Symphony Orchestra and other premiere ensembles. These special guests join the NSSWE online rehearsals and exchange stories, tips and musical performance with the NSSWE musicians.

Patrick is a well-recognised and gifted conductor and music educator. In addition to his role as founder and Artistic Director of NSSWE, Patrick is also the Artistic Director and CEO of the Central Coast Conservatorium. He has played an important role at the state level, creating the Central Coast Opera and playing a leadership role in the regional arts community. Through the Association of NSW Regional Conservatoriums, he has delivered remarkable performance projects for regional students with some of the world’s greatest orchestras including the London Symphony Orchestra, Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, Staatskapelle Berlin and the Australian World Orchestra. Patrick was recently selected to participate in the Australian Conducting Academy Summer School, working with the Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra.

Patrick is a passionate music educator and a charismatic conductor. He is much loved by the NSSWE community. Musicians, staff and audience members will be delighted to see his return to the podium.

Direct quotes from professional associates of Patrick Brennan:

“Patrick Brennan is the heart and soul of NSSWE. He plays a critical role in educating the next generation of musicians and inspiring a love of music performance. Everyone at NSSWE – the staff, the board, the musicians, and their families – is looking forward to seeing him back where he belongs, in front of an ensemble.” Diana Perche, President, NSSWE

“Patrick Brennan is an incredible conductor, educator and musician. His passion and dedication to music education is an inspiration to kids all over Australia. It is this dedication that has resulted in so many ensembles and opportunities for kids that would not exist without him.” Paul Champion, Principal Clarinet of Orchestra Victoria

“Patrick Brennan is a driving force behind the Regional Youth Orchestra, an orchestra comprised of the most talented young musicians from Regional Conservatoriums across NSW. His collaborative efforts have realised performance projects for these aspiring young orchestral musicians with the Staatskapelle Berlin, the Australian World Orchestra and Artstate Finale Concerts just to name a few. In both rehearsal and performance with RYO, as a conductor Patrick is generous, inspiring, engaging and exacting – his passionate leadership and vision brings out the best in RYO.” Anita Bellman, Executive Director, Northern Rivers Conservatorium

“I am very sorry to hear about Patrick’s accident. I had the pleasure to meet this talented musician earlier this year at the Australian Conducting Academy in Hobart. I wish Patrick a speedy and complete recovery.” Johannes Fritzsch, Director of Australian Conducting Academy, Principal Guest Conductor of Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra and Conductor Laureate of the Queensland Symphony Orchestra

“We in the band community wish Patrick Brennan a speedy recovery! He is a highly respected friend and colleague who has touched the lives of so many young Australian musicians. Get well Patrick, we’re all behind you!” Associate Professor John Lynch, Sydney Conservatorium of Music

“I am so shocked to hear of Patrick’s recent accident. My best wishes go out to him and his family for a full, speedy recovery. Patrick is such a valued member of the music, and more importantly, music education community. He is widely admired and respected here in Sydney, particularly through his work and outreach programs through the NSSWE organisation. I look forward to seeing him back on the podium doing what he so loves and does so well in the very near future.” Nic Jeffries, Musician & Director, Jeffries Academy of Music (JAM)


NSSWE was founded in 2010 by Artistic Director Patrick Brennan, with the aim of providing extension and quality musical development for all public or private school students who play woodwind, brass and percussion in their school band programs. NSSWE includes 200 musicians across 4 wind ensembles. Ensembles are streamed according to age and proficiency, and entry is by audition. NSSWE also runs a specialised program on professional development for students aiming for a career in music, for tertiary level students, called NSSWE Plus. NSSWE rehearses at The Forest High School, in Frenchs Forest, and performs at a wide range of professional and community venues in the Northern Sydney region over the year.


For further information, please contact

Diana Perche,

President, NSSWE Management Committee Email: president@nsswe.org.au